Board Member Spotlight:
Janet Abraham, MSW
Can you tell me a little about your service on the board and what your position is responsible for?
I am serving my second term for this amazing organization. I serve on the Client Services Committee under the expert leadership of Dr. Mary Helen Hackney. The Committee is responsible for reviewing all client services criteria, including eligibility for services, the scope of services, and making sure that we are reaching all of the clients that meet our criteria and can benefit from CancerLINC's support. I also assist with individual fundraising with the corporate community related to some of our signature events, such as our Beyond Bag event.
Why did you become involved in the organization, and what has your involvement looked like over time?
I became involved in this organization because of the extensive personal experience my family had with cancer. I lost my younger sister, Lori Kaplan, at the age of 33 from advanced-stage breast cancer, my mother from pancreatic cancer, and my father from lung cancer. As one can imagine, this had a huge impact on me. When I became familiar with what CancerLINC‘s mission was, I reflected on how helpful some of the services might have been to my family. I wanted to help make an impact on the lives of those affected by cancer with the support services we provide. My involvement has focused on several areas such as corporate and individual fundraising, as well as client advocacy and making sure to get the word out to those who might benefit from service support of our organization.
How would you characterize the board’s role in the nonprofit organization?
Our board plays a unique role in our non-profit organization. We are a working board; however, I believe we have a solid balance in not overstepping in the day-to-day organization of the organization. In large part, this is due to the excellent communication with have with our Executive Director, Chris Williams. He is an amazing communicator, problem-solver, and has a great deal to do with the success of this board. The board works very closely with Chris and the staff through our committee structures to enhance and advise in the operations of this organization. He also does an excellent job keeping the board informed or pertinent matters on a timely basis, which allows the board to be as effective as needed.
How would you describe the goals of the organization, and how does the organization achieve these goals?
The goals of the organization are mission-driven, and primarily, to serve and support the legal and financial needs of patients experiencing cancer. The goals are also specifically noted in our strategic plan, which serves as a catalyst for assessment, compliance, and growth for our organization.
How do you see deepening board member engagement?
Board engagement is very individual and is usually driven by personal motivators and interests. Board member engagement can be deepened by increased participation in board/community events, increased exposure to organization staff, and by active participation in the mission of our organization. Board engagement can also be deepened through advocacy and education of others in the community to increase the agency footprint in cancer and professional network.
If I am not advocating for CancerLINC, you will find me...
I previously served as the Clinical Social Worker in Women’s Health at The Department of OB/GYN at VCU Medical Center and thoroughly enjoyed my tenure there. However, I recently transitioned from that amazing opportunity and will be pursuing some very exciting things in the year to come. More to come on that.
In the meantime, I have been enjoying a bit of traveling, gardening, painting, cooking, and playing piano.
Anything else you'd like to share?
The only other thing I would like to share at this time is that I am just so pleased to be a part of such a vibrant and productive organization under the leadership of Chris. These are very challenging times for many, and the leadership always seems to maintain such a positive energy that guides us and places us strategically in a position where we can grow and prosper, and I thank them for that.
I also think we have a very committed Board of Directors with such a group of devoted folks to a mission that can move forward, and that truly impacts the lives of those with cancer. I am truly honored to be a part of this team.